Harleys Don't Hold Their Value

I just received an interesting comment on my previous post about Yamaha's New Star Raider ... At those prices, these ain't yer dad...

I just received an interesting comment on my previous post about Yamaha's New Star Raider...
At those prices, these ain't yer daddy's yamaha!! Waaay too much for a bike that will bevalue instantly - unlike a harley which is minimal if any.
I'm sure he meant "devalue" not "bevalue".

Harleys don't hold their value anymore. I'm not sure they really ever did.

Take Dale Frank's example...

He bought a brand new 1200C Sportster last July. He still owes $14,000 for it. Now, he wants a bigger bike, and checked out the NADA Book value. It's only worth $6,000!


Albeit, we're talking Sportster here, not Road King.

On the other hand, I previously wrote about a guy I know who's been trying to sell his Anniversary edition Road King, and can't do it. It seems like he's had it up for sale for a year now. It's fully loaded with chrome, 16" apes, even comes with a limited edition factory paint set. $18,000. No one has bought it.

If you consider the amount of money he's put into it, he's already lost money! The reason why it hasn't sold, is because the price is too high.

Is it more correct to say that Harley's hold their value better than metric cruisers? I'm not convinced of that either, at least not anymore. I think there was a time when that was true, but not now.

I think we're past the "Harley fashion craze" as of this year. People still like Harleys, but now the craze has matured into riding, touring, and attending rallies, instead of just buying Harleys as fashion statements.

We have the home mortgage industry to thank for that. Those who wanted a Harley just for the bling value found themselves putting their bike up for sale, or getting repo'ed altogether. Meanwhile, those of us who stuck around did so because we discovered that riding is fun.

As a result, the Motor Company is now faced with marketing their bikes to people who actually know something about bikes.

If you want to buy a Harley, buy it because you like the bike. Don't buy it thinking that it's a better investment.


Opinion 4994643429518812609

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  1. OMG how much did he pay for that $9,000 Sportster?

    HD might depreciate, but not nearly as nuch as the Metrics.

    I have plenty of bikes and know this by first hand experience.


  2. Harleys are a fashion statement is so true. The new riders of today are taking trips and a Sunday afternoon ride is 200+ miles. People have found out that they are paying for a sound. They get upset when a Yamaha Stratoliner, that costs half as much as their Harley, smokes their butts and leaves them standing in the corners. I'm still hearing people say, "buy a Harley if you like to work on bikes, buy a rice-burner if you like to ride." How true!!

  3. I agree, i was going to trade my harley for a another one. the dealer told me he would give $ 9000 for a bike i paid $ 14000 two yrs before. when i asked whats up, he said harley made so many bikes there is a glut of bikes on the market bringing down the price. last time i was at the dealer he had about 1/3 the bikes he had before, they said they are selling the bikes they have before getting new ones because they are not selling fast

  4. I can't figure out who is dumber, the guy thatwrote the article or the guy that paid >$14,000 for a sporty. I know I can ride on two wheels for much cheaper. Then again I don't buy my bikes like a commodity, they are family. I have too much pride to ride anything other than a Harley. I waited an extera three years to ride just to ride a Harley, I can't even say that about my wife,he he....

  5. I can dust a Yamadog Stratoliner any day on my 09 Road Glide moron. I have never had a problem with Harley quality since the 80's. Have fun riding your HD wannabe bike looser. I also have a Honda ST-1300, but to compare it to my Harley would be a sin

  6. I bought a 2008 sportster 1200XL for $10,500 and after getting a $6000 sell price for it I decided to add vance and hines shortshots with a duke air
    cleaner and power comander. recently I got new tires,brakes,a belt,clutch plates, starter switch,oil change and a new girlfriend. Im asking $9500.00 and she is a beaut.

  7. Motorcycles are down, but what isn't in this economy. A new Sportster for $14,000? You can get a Dyna for less than 14K, no Sporty retails that high. A new 1200 Custom has a sticker of $9900. And the all new XR 1200 is sill only $10,700. Sportsters are second tire bikes where resale is concerned. If your friend owes 14,000 on his Sporty he financed more than just the bike.

    Check out NADA, Ebay or talk to a banker. Harley's depreciate some, to a point, then remain constant for many, many years. The baby-boomer rise in Harley Sales responsible for the the huge surge between 2002 and now has faded, but these bikes still hold their original value far longer and stronger than any Asian import. It is what it is.



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